The San Jose Earthquakes are one of many MLS teams to dive into the rich South American market for a talented young signing this winter, inking defender Yeferson Quintana to a year-long loan from Peñarol, where he played a key role in helping win a Uruguayan championship last year.
And the 21-year-old is eager to be part of the league’s dramatic and ongoing progress.
“When you think about the family, in the future, about how I'm going to grow as a person and soccer player in MLS, you have to be grateful for the opportunity,” Quintana said in an exclusive conversation with FutbolMLS.com’s John Rojas, making clear that he wants his northward move to become permanent.
“I want to give everything, do things very well and hopefully at the end of the year they decide to purchase my rights,” he added as he began the long journey to join the Quakes for preseason. “I know [MLS] stadiums are nice, they fill up, there are different surfaces, tactical systems are varied, there are players from all over the world, so I'm going to grow a lot.”
Quintana, who only made his first-team debut in 2016, aspires to become a Uruguayan national team regular and would also have had a good platform to pursue that goal had he stayed with Peñarol.
But after consulting with veteran colleagues like Maxi Rodriguez and Walter Gargano who took their careers to new levels by moving abroad, the commanding center back saw the chance to move to MLS as one he could not pass up.
“The train only passes once,” said Quintana. “MLS has grown a lot and it's a pleasure to go to a league that I recently watched on TV and found out about the big stars that have gone there … The way the league has grown is very good to see.”